24 August 2020 was a sad day for the legal profession with the passing of Mr Albert Ng Seng Kiok.
Born on 12 February 1936, Seng Kiok attended the Methodist Boys’ School, Kuala Lumpur, where he completed the Senior Cambridge Examination in 1954. He was in the first batch of the Malayan Teachers’ Training College to graduate from Wolverhampton Polytechnic (now University), Birmingham, England. Whilst there he was part of the renowned Brinsford Lodge that was the main residences for Malaysians pursuing teachers training at the material time. After graduating in 1958, he returned and taught at Kajang High School. Here, he met Dato’ VL Kandan who would eventually lead him to take up law, even though his initial interest was to pursue accountancy.
He together with Dato’ Kandan then resigned as teachers to read law at the Bar in England which he completed in 17 months. After being admitted to the Bar of England & Wales at Lincoln’s Inn, he did his pupillage at Shearn Delamore & Co. He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1968 and thereafter was employed as a Legal Assistant at Chooi & Co at the behest of Dato’ Wong Soon Foh. He subsequently became a partner of the firm following the lead by the head of the firm, Mr. Chooi Mun Sau. He later became one of the founding partners of Iza, Ng, Yeoh & Kit in 2003. The name, ‘Ng” in the firm is associated with Seng Kiok. He remained a partner and then a consultant with the firm until his retirement.
His wife, Marianne Ng (Khor Chai Bee) explains that upon his return home from his call to the English Bar, Seng Kiok was passionate to offer his services to society. To this end, Seng Kiok became very active in the Bar Council.
He joined the Bar Council by virtue of his appointment as the Chairman of the then Selangor & FT Bar Committee where he served for 2 terms from 1989 to 1991. After which, he was elected to the Bar Council annually until about 2010. Thereafter, he declined to stand for elections so as to make way for the younger members to serve at the Bar Council.
During his tenure with the Bar Council, he served on various committees including the Finance, Legal Profession, Building, and Conveyancing committees, to name a few. His appointment as the treasurer of the Malaysian Bar from 1995 to 1997 was testimony to the trust and confidence the Bar reposed in him. This further propelled him to be appointed as a member of the Advocates & Solicitors Disciplinary Board, which he discharged with diligence and candour. He had an exemplary career at the Malaysian Bar and contributed enormously to the legal profession.
He was a man of great honesty and integrity. Former Bar Council Director, Catherine Eu, exemplifies such of Seng Kiok’s qualities by narrating an incident in 1996 of his participation in the Commonwealth Law Conference in Vancouver. He attended the conference but declined to claim for his expenses although it was done on behalf of the Bar Council as its treasurer to promote the upcoming Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur that was scheduled in 1999. He was so committed to the Bar that he represented the Malaysian Bar at several international law conferences (such as at Cyprus, China, New Zealand and South Africa) all at his very own expense. Such was Seng Kiok’s outstanding benevolence in service, and great dedication to the Malaysian Bar.
The demand for his services was not just from within the Bar. He was appointed by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board as one of its examiners, while the Minister of Housing & Local Government appointed him as the President of the Home Buyers Tribunal where he faithfully and dedicatedly served the full term of 9 years.
Seng Kiok was also an ardent sportsman. He represented the Bar at numerous competitions including the Annual Bench & Bar Games where he displayed various skills in table tennis, badminton, and tennis.
His abilities were not limited to the legal profession and sports. He ventured to learn Mandarin. His quest to study Mandarin led him to take afternoon classes on a regular basis. His perseverance bore fruit when he could read, write and speak the language fluently.
At the home front, Seng Kiok was a loving and caring husband to Marianne, his spouse and confidant of over 60 years. A kind and doting father to all his five children, Jacqueline, Kathleen, Pauline, Angeline & Richard whom he raised with Marianne with a strong faith in God. A pillar of support and a dedicated grandfather to Harvey, Aden, Zara, Jeremy, Joshua, Jilian, Justine, Jordon & Michael.
His devout conviction to his faith in which he draws his inner strength can be seen from his participation in various activities of the Church. He would selflessly provide legal services without charge to the Church and the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.
His religious convictions are equally emulated by his strong participation at the Catholic Lawyers Society, Kuala Lumpur from its inception in 1992 and his dedication as an Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion at the Church of St. Francis Xavier, Petaling Jaya.
His role as the Chairman of his Church community for his residential area (also known as Basic Ecclesial Community) for two terms further demonstrates his continued passion to contribute to society.
He was a sincere friend to colleagues and subordinates. He treated every person with great respect and courtesy. Being a kind, patient and humble man were his greatest traits. Seng Kiok is best described in the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi, “the good man is the friend of all living things.”
We are saddened by his loss but fortunately, we have good memories of his life.